When it comes to long-term relationships, everyone wants to know what the secret is to a successful relationship. People often have relationship questions like, “what is a healthy relationship?” or “how do I have a successful relationship?” The answers to these questions are simpler than one might think. When it comes to dating advice or marriage advice I would say both types of relationships should get the same answer, because both are equally important relationships. So what is the secret to long-term relationship success, you’re about to find out!
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Consideration For Your Partner
When you’re in a relationship whether you’re in the early stages of dating or twenty years into a marriage, considering your partner is key. What do I mean when I say consider your partner? To me, consideration should happen 24/7. If you’re out with friends, how does your partner feel about it? Do they like your friends, are they a bit hesitant around them? You got a new job offer in another state, before making any decisions, think about how your partner would feel, and even more importantly, how would they be affected by a potential move?
These daily considerations go a long way in maintaining relationship happiness, so don’t forget to consider your partner! Every choice has a reaction and consequence.
Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Without trust, ask yourself, what do you really have? Trust is earned and can take seconds to break, and years to rebuild. So this goes hand in hand with consideration. If you’re considerate of your partner, then you ideally know you’re trustworthy because you are taking actions to make sure you don’t betray your partner in any way.
Honesty is another crucial aspect of healthy relationships. Without honesty, you don’t have trust, which means you don’t have a foundation for a healthy and emotionally safe relationship. Being able to open up to your partner on a deeper level, even when you might not want to share feelings because of shame or embarrassment, actually has the potential to strengthen your connection and bring you closer! When two partners are honest, it shows respect.
Everyone has heard the saying that men want respect women want love. In truth, everyone wants respect, no matter the gender. Respect is so important in long-term relationships because when you respect someone it shows your love and care for them. Respect can be shown in very subtle ways, like taking time to listen to your partner or anything that is selfless.
The ability to be vulnerable is sexy. It’s an emotional turn on and shows your partner that you are important and that they trust you. Long-term relationship problems can arise when one partner is closed off and won’t open up and be vulnerable. Communication is so important, and when one person doesn’t communicate that breaks your connection.
Communication is key to the success of any type of relationship whether romantic, business, or familial. Often times people aren’t communicating clearly or misunderstand each other. When communicating with your partner, if you don’t understand something ask them, “Can you explain that further” or “What exactly do you mean by that?” if you aren’t sure what they’re trying to tell you. Being able to openly communicate is a healthy quality in relationships, and when people cannot communicate openly, but rather are passive aggressive relationship issues can arise.
When you’re in a relationship, fights are going to happen, it’s inevitable. The trick is to fight fair. So what do I mean by that? When you’re in a fight, it means you fight respectfully and not abusively. Don’t get into a competition of who can put the other down the most, rather take a pause, understand each other’s sides, listen and respond. If you’re fighting over whose family your spending Christmas at, each of you should be able to explain your side and why you want to spend it at your own families. See which person’s family values that holiday more, and come up with a compromise. You spend Christmas with their families, but you spend Thanksgiving at yours.
Validation is crucial when it comes to communicating, opening up, and being vulnerable. Validation tells your partner that you understand them. And really, don’t we all just want to be understood at the end of the day? Wouldn’t it be nice to come home, express you had a bad day, and have your partner say, “I can see how your day was so tough, I don’t know how I would have done if I had that kind of day. Is there anything I can do to make it better?” Validation is important for healthy and safe communication.
There is a huge difference between empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone, but empathy is putting yourself in their shoes and feeling what they feel. When communicating, especially about tough topics, empathy is critical in making your partner feel love and connection. Empathy says I understand you and feel your pain. Empathy is the opposite of judgment, it’s loving and accepting.
Appreciation is another way to show your love and support of your partner. When you’re in a long-term relationship, the one thing that can kill romance is feeling like you’re taken for granted. Appreciation is the one way you can fight the tendency to take your partner for granted. Appreciating, vocally, what your partner does for you can make them feel over the moon with joy, especially if their love language is words of affirmation.
Spending time with your partner is something that can enhance your connection. Obviously having a degree of space and independence is important, but making sure you set aside quality time weekly can really sustain those romantic feelings. Quality time can be anything from watching your favorite TV show together, to bowling, or a special date night. Quality time is another one of the five love languages, and if your partner’s language is this one, making time for them will speak volumes to them!
Novelty is proven to keep things new and sparks flying. Having novelty in your life can mean going on a vacation, doing something spontaneous, or even changing up your weekly routine. Finding something you’ve never done with your partner can reignite that spark. If you have never been rock climbing, horseback riding, or scuba diving, try it out with your partner! Anything that gets you into a new environment and that is active can enhance your bond.
Nothing can tear apart a couple like financial troubles. When you and your partner have different spending habits, your relationship can become a battleground. Financially, making sure you and your partner are on the same page about spending is pivotal in having a stable relationship. When one person is spending more than they make, that impacts both of you. Finances are one of those things that can really end a relationship if both partners are not responsible.
Sexual Compatibility and Romance
Being sexually compatible is one of the biggest factors of long-term successful relationships. Most couples have very different sex drives which make the bedroom have a negative association and can create an awkward wall behind you guys. When it comes to sex in relationships, honesty, openness, vulnerability, and compromise are important. When sex is good, it can enhance your emotional intimacy ten-fold!
Be honest about your sexual interests and drive. If you are more vanilla and won’t go behind that, let your partner know early on, they might have a very different interest than you that could, later on, be a bone of contention between you two. Opening up to your partner about your sexual interests can be horribly anxiety provoking sometimes, but letting them know you on a deeper level can bring you closer. Plus, if you don’t share you might miss out on some amazing bonding with your partner because they might secretly be into what you’re into but too shy to say so.
Compromise also plays a role in the bedroom. When you and your partner have sexual differences, (and let’s be honest what couple matches up 100%?) it’s important to talk about those differences and see what you’re willing to try. If you’re not comfortable with something you should stand up for yourself and draw a hard line in the ground about that. For things you might have been curious about, you can let your partner know you’re willing to try it, but there are no guarantees about whether you’ll like it and want to continue that.
Along with sexual compatibility is romance. Romance means many things to different people, which means expressing what you find romantic and attractive is important. If you want flowers, vacations, date nights, say so. Let your partner know what turns you on emotionally.
This one is the biggest factor in relationship success. If you and your partner are not 100% committed to each other, it’s never going to work. You have to have both feet inside the relationship because when one foot is out the door, the things listed above are not happening in the relationship.
When you’re in a relationship, talking about what each of you thinks commitment is can be such an enlightening conversation. One person may feel commitment means coming home at 6 PM every night to help out with the kids, and another person may think commitment means money goes to family first.
Commitment means in heart, mind, and soul to most people. If you’re in an open or polygamous relationship, then commitment may be different for you, but that’s exactly why talking about what commitment means to you is important. Most couples want their partner to be committed and be sexually faithful. If you’re not committed and end up cheating or having an affair, repairing the relationship will be an uphill battle, so commitment is essential to a healthy and honest relationship.
Bonus! Best Six Relationship Books Out There!
Now that you know 15 qualities in relationships that lead to success, I’ll give you guys a bonus! These are some of the best books for couples to achieve long-term relationships goals! These books enhance connection, enables you to learn about each other, and figure out your sex life. If you want a stronger relationship, check these six books out:
5 Sex Languages by Doug Weiss
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel
The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity by Esther Perel
I’ve read these books and they’ve really enhanced my knowledge of relationships and how to be successful in them.